The lights went dark yesterday at Provisions Chophaus & Drinkery after a mere 11 days in business. That is shorter than Kim Kardashian's marriage to Kris Humphries (72 days) but longer than Carmen Electra's marriage to Dennis Rodman (6 days).
The new restaurant, housed in the former T|ACO space at 1550 Blake Street, announced its closure through a dramatic Facebook post inciting all sorts of speculation about lawbreaking, possible theft, embezzlement, and more.
Here's what the Facebook post said.
I'm so sorry to all the great people who have supported our great restaurant. The idea was great and our core staff was dedicated and amazing. Unfortunately due to one bad apple we have to close the doors. But this is an amazing country with some great laws, so that bad apple won't get too far from his arrest warrants. But thank you again for everything. Amen
So who is this bad apple and what did he do? The restaurant was founded by chef Donne Briggs and chef Adam Sutter. The two met while working at Earl's at Park Meadows and together with silent partners opened the LoDo joint.
According to Briggs, a 17 year industry veteran with ties to Seattle, the partnership with Sutter began to unravel the day the restaurant opened. "We just could not see eye-to-eye. When I gave advice and direction, instead of listening to my advice, he took offense," Briggs explains. Long story short, Briggs was called to tend to his injured son in Alaska and when he returned he was told the silent partners wanted him out. He froze some assets he considered his. Sutter, Briggs says, was not truthful about the intent of the silent partners. "It came out that he [Sutter] fabricated that. [...] Once I found that out, I took the steps to freeze everything that it was in my name and turn everything off. I have now received the restaurant back and he stepped away 100%. But the sad part is that he kind of emptied the accounts. He told everyone I did that."
Sutter, a California native with two years experience cooking, is the one who put the message on Facebook. "He talks about arrest warrants and so on and so forth, which is nothing remotely close to the truth," Briggs says. "We may reopen but we have a long road ahead of us. Or worst case scenario, I will find another location, change the name, and start all over again," he concluded. Sutter did not return any of Eater's messages.
UPDATE: Since the article was originally published, Adam Sutter reached out to share his side of the story. The two stories are not the same, as expected, but there are common threads: Briggs went to Alaska; he returned and things unravelled; Briggs took some money out of the business account and Sutter also took some money out of the same account; now the restaurant is controlled by Briggs.
"Briggs took the money out for himself," Sutter says. "He did not freeze an account [...] He literally pulled out business money into an account for him because he was owed money. [...] He took $2100 out of our account. […] I showed up to Chase Bank; I told them about the situation. They transferred $1800 into my account, which I talked to a lawyer about. I have Chase records that can show that I paid that back to the business," he explains.
The finger pointing may continue for days and weeks to come. In the meantime, a hot space on a thriving dining street remains vacant.
· Provisions Chophaus & Drinkery Debuts Today in LoDo [EDen]
· Provisions Chophaus & Drinkery [Facebook]